Today’s Friday Night Slice was inspired by a pie posted by @baconluv, an Instagram friend who lives down in Portland. A few weeks ago she posted a killer looking cherry pizza from a place called Lucca. I filed it away in my brain and last night, with a handful of cherries chilling out in my refrigerator, it was finally time to have a go at a pizza pie with cherries. This one I’m calling the Neil Diamond (Cherry, Baby). In retrospect, looking at the pictures, maybe I should have called it Purple Rain.
Today, it’s been eight days since I’ve seen my husband. I’ve eaten five dinners on my own, if granola and snack mix on the plane home from Austin count as “dinner.” Cooking what I like, only for myself, usually that’s totally liberating. I get to eat all the things I like and he doesn’t. I see myself leaning against the stove in a crisp white shirt (mmm, very practical), sleeves rolled up, stirring a pot with one hand, contemplating my day while leisurely sipping a glass of red wine. Like in a movie.
With just a few days to go until the Big Meal, we’re keeping things light around here (previous Twinkie post notwithstanding). I spent Sunday morning picking up a few last things, including the turkey, and then the spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen. It’s just not the holidays unless there’s Chex Mix. Last night’s dinner was a relatively simply affair – Sriracha Sloppy Joes and this arugula, radicchio and honeycrisp apple salad.
Grilled pizza experiments this weekend, using Mark Bittman’s pizza dough recipe from How to Cook Everything. This one is just canned Romas (hand crushed), grated mozzarella cheese, prosciutto and arugula. The other one we did was nectarine, chopped Russian red kale, prosciutto and goat cheese. It tasted great, but did not photograph well, since the kale got a little, um, well done.
Learnings so far:
1. Par-grilling is key. Give the dough a minute or two on both sides before topping it. It seems obvious in retrospect, but made a huge difference in the final product. We had to throw the first one in the broiler to finish, defeating the purpose of not turning on the oven.
2. Have all your toppings ready. There‘s no time for, oops, forgot to grate the cheese.
3. Manage your heat. We cranked it up to 600F on our gas grill to start, but still haven’t quite gotten the perfect topping temp down, so far it’s between 300-400, but depends on the toppings.
4. Use a peel if you have one, or at the very least a large metal turner. In a panic, I flipped the first crust with tongs since the peel was on its way out with dough for the second pizza. Tongs = tearing.
Update 7/31, 2:50 pm: We put the tomatoes and mozzarella on while the crust was on the grill and gave it a couple of minutes to cook/melt. Added the prosciutto just before it came off and topped w/ arugula back in the kitchen.
Leave it to Jeremy Fox, who did amazing things with vegetarian cuisine at Ubuntu in Napa (and maybe soon at a joint called Smith?), to come up with a different, maybe better, spin on panzanella. I’ve had the recipe for this peach panzanella tucked away for safe keeping (since 2007!), until some hot weather and good peaches came my way. That was this weekend…it’s been a scorcher everywhere. Here in the PNW, we’re thanking the weather gods. Across the rest of the country, everyone else is wondering, when will it ever end?!
I think I first had a traditional tomato panzanella at Caffe Centro in San Francisco, just across the street from where I worked. Their version had diced tomato, cucumber and corn with a balsamic dressing. A great summer salad. If the name is anything to go by, it’s the stale bread that makes a panzanella. But after having this version, I’d say it’s the peaches.